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Group asks SC anew to junk JPEPA

BusinessWorld, Manila

Group asks SC anew to junk JPEPA

14 September 2009

A group led by former Vice-President Teofisto T. Guingona, Jr. and former Senate president Jovito R. Salonga has asked the Supreme Court (SC) anew to quash the trade agreement with Japan.

In asking that the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) be declared null and void, the group said the deal "will not at all benefit the general welfare of the Filipino people and worse it will adversely affect them."

"JPEPA is an unequal and inequitable agreement greatly favoring Japan. This is in gross violation of section 13, Article XII of the Constitution that shames the honor of the Republic. It is practically an agreement that extends Japanese territory to the Philippines and allows Japan to participate in almost all aspects of Philippine existence with very little reservation," the group said.

The group, calling itself Magkaisa Junk JPEPA, first elevated the case in October immediately after the pact was ratified by the Senate.

Named respondents were all senators as well as Trade Secretary Peter B. Favila, Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Finance Secretary Margarito B. Teves and Customs Commissioner Napoleon L. Morales.

The group again raised its contentions in response to the Office of the Solicitor General’s position that cases questioning JPEPA’s unconstitutionality should be junked.

Under the JPEPA, the Philippines will liberalize its market for Japanese goods by reducing 98% of tariff lines. Japan, on the other hand, will only liberalize by as much as 90% of its tariff lines, the group claimed. — IPP